After 28 years, the words of gratitude still resonate: “I’m so grateful they came up with this in time for me.”
These words came from a patient who was undergoing a unique therapy that used a radioactive material and chemical agent to treat multiple myeloma, a cancer of a type of white blood cell that produces antibodies to help fight infection.
“Unbeknownst to the patient, I had developed the final elements that allowed this treatment to begin in humans,” says John Bayouth, PhD, chief of radiation oncology physics and the Bhudatt Paliwal Professor of Human Oncology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. “That’s the kind of comment that can inspire a career. I cherish the opportunity to understand problems and find solutions, and getting to know the people my work impacts is a tremendously rewarding experience.”
His current research focuses on improving quality of life for cancer patients.
“As the field of oncology continues to mature, more of our patients are surviving and living free of disease, but they also suffer from some of the side effects associated with therapy. I want to help design methods to reduce those side effects so that patients can live free of disease at the highest quality of life possible,” Bayouth says. “That type of research requires sustained effort and long-term commitment. Unfortunately, the current funding environment at the federal level does not allow all of the worthy research programs to be funded.”
This is why the Department of Human Oncology has created The Ride a bicycling fundraiser to benefit cancer research within the department and the UW Carbone Cancer Center.
Bayouth, who prefers motorcycles to bicycles, says, “I hate riding a bicycle, but I hate cancer more.” He is registered for the 62-mile route and has set an ambitious individual fundraising goal of $10,000. With the generous support of donors, he’s hoping that he and his colleagues will be able to more fully pursue the goal of saving and improving the lives of people with cancer by advancing knowledge and treatment.
“I’m excited about The Ride because it will raise awareness and rally people together and inspire them to commit to something much bigger than themselves. Although riding a bicycle might not be the way that I would choose to spend my time, if that’s the vehicle that will get us there, then I’m on board, I’m all in.” Bayouth says. “My hope is that we can build a level of support that will allow us collectively to conduct research that is sustainable and impactful on patients’ lives.”